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UWM Poll: Majority Say State Headed In Right Direction, Split on Kenosha Casino

UWM Center for Urban Initiatives & Research

This morning, the latest Wisconsin Economic Scorecardpoll was released. Not surprisingly, the mid-term elections last month had some effect on the numbers.

The poll, from WUWM and the UWM Center for Urban Initiatives and Research, measures residents’ perceptions of Wisconsin’s overall economic vitality, their personal economic circumstances and public opinion regarding state economic issues.

Joseph Cera is the survey director for the center and he spoke with Lake Effect's Bonnie North to discuss the results and what they mean for Wisconsin's economic future.

"You only have about 35-40% of folks in the state who would say that the wider state economy is doing well, and that has really been the case for several years now," Cera says. "Now that being said, over the last two years there has been a steady trend of incrementally improving evaluations."

Key findings from the survey are:

  • 61% of Wisconsin voters oppose a plan under consideration, aimed at addressing the projected $750 million shortfall in the state transportation fund, that includes an increase in the gasoline tax, a higher annual registration fee for hybrid and electric vehicles, a fee on the purchase of new vehicles, and a transfer of tax revenues from the state’s general fund to the transportation fund. Just 31% support such a plan.
  • Regarding a new proposed Menominee tribal casino in Kenosha, Wisconsin voters are now split on the issue; 48% say the governor should approve the plan, while 44% say he should block it. Opposition to the casino has increased significantly since December or 2013, when just 32% opposed the new casino.
  • A plan to help finance a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks with a $150 million bond backed by diverting income tax revenues paid to the state by Bucks athletes and employees evenly divides Wisconsin voters, with 47% opposed and 47% in favor. Supporters outnumber opponents within the 7- county metro Milwaukee region.
  • While a slight majority of Wisconsin residents (55%) now evaluate their personal financial circumstances in positive terms, net evaluations of the wider state economy remain negative; 63% say Wisconsin’s overall recent economic performance is “fair” or “poor.”
  • Regarding the overall direction of the state, about 59% of residents say Wisconsin is “headed in the right direction” (back to pre-election levels after dropping to 53% during Q2), while just under 42% say the state is “on the wrong track.”

The Q4 2014 Wisconsin Economic Scorecard was a random digit dial landline/mobile telephone survey of 429 Wisconsin residents, conducted by the CUIR Survey Center at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee from December 1-4. The sampling margin of error was ±4.7% at the 95% confidence level.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.